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White-Irwin House

119 Water Street, Shelburne, Nova Scotia, B0T, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1991/12/16

Rear elevation, White-Irwin House, Shelburne, NS, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Rear elevation
White-Irwin House, front elevation, Shelburne, NS, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Front elevation
Front and north elevations, White-Irwin House, Shelburne, NS, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Front and north elevations

Other Name(s)

White-Irwin House
Samuel Marshall House

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/06/14

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

White-Irwin House is a large, two-and-a-half storey Neo-classical home located on Water Street in Shelburne Nova Scotia. The house is one of the oldest in the town, built in 1784-85 by Loyalist Samuel Marshall. The municipal designation includes the house and property.

Heritage Value

White-Irwin House, also known as the Samuel Marshall House, is valued for its long association with the history of Shelburne and Nova Scotia and as an excellent example of the Neo-classical style in Shelburne.

Construction of the White-Irwin House began in 1784 by Samuel Marshall, a United Empire Loyalist, who had recently arrived in Shelburne, then known as Port Roseway. He was one of several thousand Loyalists to arrive in the area, settling in Shelburne to escape the American Revolution. The house was sold later that year to Charles Whitworth, also a United Empire Loyalist who had arrived in Shelburne in 1782 with his wife and family. It is unclear if Whitworth lived in the house during this time. It was rented for a period to Captain Roach and later occupied by Gideon and Deborah White. Gideon was also a Loyalist and member of the Port Roseway Associates and was influential in the founding of Shelburne. He was appointed justice of the peace and later judge of probate.

In 1913 the house was purchased by Robert Irwin who owned a mill, exported lumber and for a short time managed the Joseph McGill shipyard. Irwin represented Shelburne County in the provincial legislature from 1906 to 1925 and served for eight years as Speaker of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly. In 1937 he was appointed Lt. Governor of Nova Scotia. The house stayed in the Irwin family until 1978.

The White-Irwin House is one of the oldest houses in Shelburne and among several surviving Loyalist homes. The two-and-a-half storey home is located on Water Street, one of the main thoroughfares in the town, in close proximity of other homes of a similar age. The house has remained fairly unaltered. At some point in its history Scottish dormers were added to two sides of the hipped roof of the main house and two on the front of the ell. The house contributes greatly to the Loyalist character of Shelburne.

Source: Town of Shelburne, Heritage Property files, White-Irwin House.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the White-Irwin House relate to its Neo-classical style and include:

- form and massing;
- two-and-a-half storey main house;
- symmetrical five bay façade of main house;
- one-storey ell;
- hipped roof;
- capped six-over-six windows on front and side façades;
- wooden cladding;
- location close to street and close proximity to houses of similar age and style;
- prominent location on Water Street.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NS)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Municipally Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Town of Shelburne Office Water Street, PO Box 670 Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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